The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.
Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In The Holy Longing, Ronald Rolheiser notes that John uses the Greek word “sarx” for “body” in Christ’s Bread of Life discourse. “Sarx” connotes not anatomy but earthiness, a body having an odor, getting dirty, etc.
Imagine the Resurrection scene. White burial linens folded neatly in the tomb. Mary Magdalene sobbing, mistaking Jesus for the gardener. Hmmm…would Magdalene have mistaken her dear friend for a gardener if he were in those white linens? Was Jesus indeed gardening? Was he dirty? Was he sweating? Why else would Magdalene mistake Him for the gardener?
Eating the flesh of Jesus entails getting dirty with him, entering into communion amidst the dirt and grime and sarx of life, groveling and groping to serve those underserved. Jesus rose from the darkness into the light and immediately resumed getting dirty, cajoling us to do the same and comforting us by saying “Do not be afraid.” Wow…
—Stephen Hutchison founded and leads Revitalization 2000, Inc., a nonprofit organization that emerged from St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church to assist its Ignatian-based mission to serve the poor in the surrounding neighborhood of north St. Louis.
may I accept Your cup
and eat Your flesh and drink Your blood
to faith and gratitude
in Your rising
Your triumph over death
and Your invitation
to embrace whom You have made me
and my own earthly diminishment
this law of entropy
this necessary stage
that leads to death
delivering me to utter communion
with saints and angels
—Stephen HutchisonPlease share the Good Word with your friends!